May 17, 2013 - by: Brian Kurtz 2 COMMENTS

Litigation Value:  Bless your heart if you’re still keeping track at this point.

This blog has always focused on bad behavior.  We tease out employment law issues by writing about the characters who do things in the workplace that one simply does not do. So last night’s series finale of the The Office poses quite a challenge in that most of the characters, with a few notable exceptions, exhibited exemplary behavior.

Take Dwight, for example. There was hope early on when he gave Kevin his “Get Out”  that he might fuel a few lawsuits. It was not to be. By the end of the episode, Dwight was careful to turn Pam and Jim’s departure into a termination just so he could offer them a generous severance package. After all these years, Jim has gone from Dwight’s mortal enemy to his bestest mensch.

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Stanley Knievel

April 11, 2013 - by: Brian Kurtz 0 COMMENTS

Litigation value:  Stanley can sue Dwight blind for his bull dart assault.

This is an employment law blog.  So when tonight’s episode opened, and I saw that Dwight had shut down the building’s elevator for repair, leaving the stairwell as the only option to reach Dunder Mifflin’s offices, I thought it might be interesting to explore the ADA’s regulations on elevators in public buildings.  Or maybe Stanley’s adamant refusal to attend the school district sales pitch was an opportunity to discuss the definition of insubordination. Such interesting choices.

And then Dwight shot Stanley with a triple dose of bull tranquilizers, encased him in bubble wrap, and slid him down the stairs headfirst.

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Can’t Beet a Garden Party

December 29, 2011 - by: Doug Hall 0 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: Zilch. An episode blissfully free of employment law problems!

Tonight’s episode — the last of 2011 — brings up a reprise of “The Garden Party,” previously blogged by my colleague Brian Kurtz.

Most of the action takes place outside of the usual office setting, at Dwight’s bucolic beet farm/budding party venue. In an effort to impress both Robert California and his parents, Andy decides to throw a garden party — with “Connecticut casual” as the dress code. My favorite running joke in the episode involves Dwight’s slavish devotion to a book on how to throw a garden party, not knowing that it was penned by Jim (under the nom de plume “James Trickington”). I know there will be a “tableau vivant” at my New Year’s Eve party!

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Sex Sells (OK, No It Doesn’t)

May 01, 2010 - by: Chris Butler 0 COMMENTS

Litigation Value: $250,000 for assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent hiring, and negligent entrustment.

Well, folks, the quintessential horndog – Michael Scott – is back on the stick. And this week, he didn’t disappoint. Michael’s recent announcement that this may be his final year sitting in the boss chair makes us wonder who will replace him; as if anyone could. We’ll address that later.

All right, so check it out: An attractive female, and potential Sabre customer, let’s just call her Donna (because that’s her name), visits the office dressed in eye-catching semi-business wear. Michael wastes no time in jokingly asking: “Did somebody order a hooker?” Soon thereafter, Michael interrupts Jim and Pam Halpert’s PowerPoint sales presentation by offering Donna a dog-eared Victoria’s Secret catalog. Michael further attempts to get Donna “turned on” by hijacking the presentation, superimposing wistful photos of himself, both fully clothed and facetiously standing behind a semi-nude strongman cutout (including an unnamed underwear model).

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Michael Scott Lives in Provo

August 01, 2008 - by: Troy Foster 2 COMMENTS

Much like I wondered whether Santa was real as a kid, I often wonder if there is a real-life Michael Scott out there somewhere. This week, I think that I found the answer!

When sales took a slump for a Provo, Utah, company, a supervisor came up with the idea of “waterboarding” one of the salespeople to motivate the workforce. The supervisor — let’s just call him “Real-Life Michael” — had coworkers hold an employee down. Then, Real-Life Michael poured a gallon of water over the salesperson’s head and face. Real-Life Michael then told his workers that they should work as hard at making sales as their tortured coworker did at trying to breathe. It is Michael!

Of course, unlike in Scranton — where I don’t think they have a courthouse — the employee filed a lawsuit against the company. He is going to make some money.

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Mose Gets A Raise!

July 24, 2008 - by: Troy Foster 5 COMMENTS

Hopefully, the folks at Dunder Mifflin took note of today’s mandated minimum wage increase required under the Fair Minimum Wage Act passed in 2007. As of today, the minimum wage is $6.55; next year, the official federal minimum wage will be increased to $7.25 per hour.

While it’s unlikely that this will affect the wages of any of the Scranton branch employees, this new increase could take a serious toll on the profitability of Dwight’s beet farm operations. If his cousin Mose hears about the increase, Dwight is going to have to find a way to come up with the money to pay Mose’s higher wage — that’s assuming, of course, that Dwight pays Mose at all.

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